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Armory bill passes in Assembly

Cuomo’s signature is needed for final transfer


A bill that would transfer the abandoned National Guard armory on Babylon Turnpike to the Village of Freeport passed a State Assembly vote on Tuesday. Assemblywoman Taylor Raynor, a Democrat from Hempstead, proposed the legislation. A companion bill had already passed the Senate. The measure now requires Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature to finalize the transfer.

“I feel great about the decision,” Raynor said. “I look forward to this great opportunity for the village to work with the community and utilize these three acres of land to serve the community.”

Raynor submitted her bill to the Assembly in February, after Sen. John Brooks, a Democrat from Seaford, proposed an identical bill in January. Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, a Democrat from Rockville Centre, co-sponsored Raynor’s bill.

For years, the Cedarmore Corporation, a local nonprofit social service agency headquartered across the street from the armory, has tried to obtain the property from the state. Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper, whom Raynor defeated in a primary last September, had favored giving the armory to the agency and stalled a bill to transfer it to the village. Elected officials have said that transferring or selling the property to the nonprofit would not be legal.

“It has taken years to return the armory to Freeport,” Griffin said. “I was thrilled yesterday to stand with Assemblywoman Taylor Raynor to see our legislation finally pass.

“After it is signed into law,” Griffin continued, “I am sure that [Freeport] Mayor [Robert] Kennedy will seek community input in plans to utilize this property.”

North Freeport residents and Cedarmore representatives staged two protests in front of the armory, opposing its transfer to the village.

Kennedy said the village would seek community input on what should be done with the property. “When and if the armory is transferred to the village, we will complete the necessary environmental studies along with the architectural reviews,” he said. “We will meet with all of the civic organizations and residents to discuss various options and uses for the property.”

At press time on Wednesday, neither Brooks nor a Cedarmore representative was available for comment.